Monday, February 07, 2005

Always Us and Them

In a speech to the Atlanta Exposition, Booker T. Washington offered a compromise to the white man. He said, essentially, that the black race made up roughly a third of the population of the South. He also said that the black race was, in general, willing to work and be a productive part of the community. He said, "Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitue one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic." He stood there, with his arms outstretched, saying, to paraphrase, "Accept us as brothers and we will prove our worth. Allow us humanity and we will shower you with prosperity and gratitude." He stood there smiling, hopeful, Booker T. Washington, nothing if not an optimist. And the white man, well, as we well know, he gave him a good look right in the eyes and then spit right in his face. So much for optimism.

I mean, he offered a pretty clear choice: years of ever increasing prosperity or years of economic struggle and social unrest. And those ignorant sons of bitches chose struggle and social unrest. We should remember this when white racialists or supremacists talk about black urban violence or the high number of crimes committed by African-Americans. We should remember that Booker T. offered a different option, and the white men of the time threw it back in his face with a big "Fuck You."

Of course, it's possible that Washington's vision would never have worked anyway. Reading History has made me cynical. Oh, so very cynical. Whenever there is a chance for two cultures, two people, two nations to interact and benefit from each other, somebody, some group has to screw everything up and make everything about violence, domination, and slavery. It's damn depressing.

I don't really have an uplifting note with which to end this. In case there are any present who wish to take issue with what I've said, please feel free to do so. I always welcome fresh views. Bear in mind, however, that I am well aware that race is a much more complicated issue than could possibly be hashed out in a single entry in a single blog. Or in any number of blogs, or, maybe, anywhere.

In case that's got you feeling down, like it's got me feeling down, I urge you to go look at a softer world. Myself, I have more history to read. Tralala.

7 Comments:

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Steer Pike Pie said...

Well, at least we all liked his peanut butter invention.

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Spill The Beans said...

I'm sorry, but I have to quibble. I think that Houston serves as a helpful illustration of the fact that while some white folks may have spit in Booker's face, the majority of us have come to some place of peace with racial issues. After all, Houston is a majority WHITE city who up until a year or so ago had both a black mayor and a black police chief.

In Tallahassee, where I live, the mayor and chief are both black, as well.

I don't think it's helpful to live in the past. And frankly, Booker's message, while it wasn't necessarily embraced by whites of the time, was embraced by substantial numbers of BLACKS of the time, black parents who raised well-educated and articulate black children who are now attaining the highest levels of American society.

Yeah, Booker never saw the promised land, but he glimpsed it from the mountaintop. And it really was just over the hill.

Catz

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Arthur Mundane said...

Please, quibble! I was mostly talking about humanities historical tendency to nostrilfuck itself whenever there is a chance for meaninful, peaceful cross-cultural intercourse. It's like we can't help but choose suspicion and violence.

Anyway. Reading history makes me a nihilistic anarchist.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Spill The Beans said...

Except the anarchists never win.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Steer Pike Pie said...

NOSTRIL FUCK??? CROSS-CULTURAL INTERCOURSE???

Now you've got me all horny like!!!!

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Spill The Beans said...

God, the idea of nostril fucking makes hair sex seem relatively normal.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Steer Pike Pie said...

I enjoy good hairsex every now and again. Nostril fucking on the other hand is perverse. I mean, think about it, all snotty and with those little hard pieces that stick to the sides....ewwwww. And like do you pull out or just let it go? Where does it go???? I personally think the pressure would force little particles of nostril bone into the brain and would kill the nostril fuckee.

But then again, I am not an expert.....Mundane??

 

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